Portable Class Library (PCL) now available on all platforms

Portable Class Library (PCL) now available on all platforms

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This post announces a standalone release of the .NET portable class library reference assemblies that can be used on any operating system. It was written by Rich Lander, a Program Manager on the .NET Team.

Update: Read PCL and .NET NuGet Libraries are now enabled for Xamarin for later information on this release.

You can build .NET apps across a wide variety of platforms, and the Portable Class Library (PCL) helps you share your code and libraries across .NET platforms.  Specifically, the PCL provides a set of common reference assemblies that enable .NET libraries and binaries to be used on any .NET based runtime – from phones, to clients, to servers and clouds.

Prior to today’s release, there was a license restriction with the PCL reference assemblies which meant they could only be used on Windows. With today’s release we are announcing a new standalone release of the PCL reference assemblies with a license that allows it to be used on any platform – including non-Microsoft ones.  This enables developers even more flexibility and to do great things with .NET.

Here is a screenshot of the installer.


If you are using VS 2013 you can compile your apps using the portable reference assemblies that are automatically installed as part of it.  Today’s standalone release of the PCL provides a ZIP file that includes the same portable reference assemblies that are available in the latest Visual Studio 2013 RC – and which you can use on other platforms (or within other tools). The ZIP file is installed to: %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft .NET Portable Library Reference Assemblies 4.6 RC.

Today’s announcement is just the start of a conversation we’d like to have with developers about the PCL and even more things you can do with .NET.  Please try out the PCL, and tell us what you think and how you’re using these assemblies/PCL, either in the comments to this post or on UserVoice.

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  • Lack of support for PCLs in Visual Studio 2013 Express is a slap in the face. Hard to believe they aren't supported by Express.

  • Thank you so much for giving this information.

    Bcz its amazing news to use the PCL in any platforms


  • When we talk about PCL can be used across the platform then it is really joke and embarrassing for Microsoft that PCL can not be used with Visual studio 2012 express or 2013 express. Why Microsoft do such cheap behavior  in this era of open source is hard to believe.

    Is there any workaround to have PCL in Visual Studio 2012 express version or at least Visual Studio 2013 express version?

  • @Curt & Alok: The sole reason PCL isn't available in Express is because we never did the work to add it. We are planning on addressing this concern in the next release.

  • Any word when Portable Class Library support will be available in VB 2013 Express? doesn't appear to have made it into Update 3 (or did it?)

  • PCLs are available in Visual Studio Express for Windows, which includes VB:


  • I just love this page www.microsoft.com/.../details.aspx

    which commences with

    "The Microsoft .NET Portable Library Reference Assemblies 4.6 is a set of reference assemblies  ..."

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